Study Guide

The Return of the Native Book 1, Chapter 11

By Thomas Hardy

Book 1, Chapter 11

The Dishonesty of an Honest Woman

  • Diggory Venn is definitely persistent. After his poor showing with Eustacia, he decides to try again with Mrs. Yeobright.
  • Luckily, he comes across Mrs. Yeobright making her way to the Quiet Woman Inn to see Wildeve. She looks about as thrilled as someone who's heading to a dentist appointment.
  • The two start chatting and Venn confesses that he proposed to Thomasin once upon a time and was refused.
  • Mrs. Yeobright thanks Diggory for his concern but says that Thomasin is only interested in Wildeve now and probably won't marry Venn.
  • But Venn has given her an idea.
  • So Mrs. Yeobright marches off to talk to Wildeve, with a newly-acquired ace up her sleeve. She tells Wildeve that Thomasin has another suitor, though she doesn't say who exactly.
  • Wildeve is surprised and worried.
  • Mrs. Yeobright gives him an ultimatum: he can either make up his mind to marry Thomasin soon or she's going to get sick of him and marry Mystery Man instead.
  • Wildeve flounders around a bit and finally Mrs. Yeobright leaves.
  • Well-played, Mrs. Yeobright, well-played.
  • Wildeve quickly runs off to see Eustacia about all of this.
  • He says that he wants to run off to America with her soon since Thomasin is going to marry some other guy now.
  • But, irony of ironies, Eustacia is suddenly much less attracted to Wildeve, now that he's back on the market.
  • So Eustacia hedges about moving to America and says that the whole Thomasin thing has made her not trust him as much.
  • Wildeve says whatever, and Eustacia vaguely says she'll give him her answer in a week.
  • Eustacia goes home and her grandfather informs her that everyone is freaking out because Clym Yeobright is definitely coming home for Christmas.
  • Eustacia asks where he's been living and her grandfather replies, "Paris."
  • And thus ends Book 1.